So about 2 hours ago I was scrolling through my twitter feed searching for something to inspire me, with my trends set to London, and all I saw was the normal episodes of saddening news and rants about work, travel and relationships. Every now and again I change my trends to different cities to see what is going on in the rest of the world, so I set my trends to Lagos (as a Diaspora child it really excites me to find out what’s happening back home) and I was greeted with what I can only describe as a pleasant surprise – #DearMusicEP. I eagerly clicked onto it in the search of what I thought would be the next big afrobeats sensation, but what I found was an international musical gift by an artist called Muyiwà Akhigbe. I immediately got a cup of tea, plugged in my earphones and began scribbling away … here are my track by track musings of what I can only describe as a melodic pleasure to the ears on a cold winter evening in London.
The intro starts off with sounds of morning birds, with faint traditional drums and soft chanting seeping in shortly after. This is then accompanied by gentle whimpers of a female voice (Davina Oriakhi) crying for freedom.
“ I used to think freedom was light-skinned; better yet white” –
This line really struck a chord with me because as a black female this is something I faced growing up. In African culture (particularly in Nigeria) Light skin is often idolised and people (women more so) with Eurocentric features often advance faster and higher. He also touches of weight, hair struggles, police brutality and unemployment.
“Freedom isn’t just equality, don’t give a man of height and of ground the same stools.”
Again, I was hit with the harsh reality that in life not all fingers are equal, and to be truly free means sometimes drawing the short straw.
The intro ends with “dear music freedom must sound like you” and I was well and truly ready to be freed.
Black Or White
This song starts with a lyric that I found myself struggling to grasp …“My mama told me something, that in life you have to make some choices, and when you make the choice my boy you gotta know there’s two things involved … you gotta be black or white”.
It wasn’t what I expected from the song, I thought that it would have a focus on skin but it was more about the concept of good and evil and darkness and light.
The beat has urgency to it, as though we are following him on a journey, and he is constantly being met by crossroads and having to choose between the two.
A Stitch In Time (Interlude)
The first 17secs sounds like the intro to a very modern and western love song. However, on the 18th second, we are met with a traditional Yoruba folk sound. Interestingly they mesh well together and I feel as though I am being transported to Yoruba land.
“Whatever you do make you do am on time” was my favourite line from this song, in life we often talk the talk but fail to walk the walk – the musical accompaniment towards the end really drives this home.
Alaroye featuring Tofa
One of the first lines in the song “happening babe around Lagos, she’s not easy to be found” made me smile because several names came to mind and I feel like everyone can relate.
He then proceeds to talk about how she has “been around with every guy, with no respect for her life” – the feminist in me was a little perturbed by this line, anyone who knows me will know I’m all about female choice and freedom.!
The underlying message is that in life we should take things “easy and slow” but I personally am all about life in the fast lane.
The melody is fast at points showing the energy and tenacity of this woman he speaks of and slows down during his suggestion to calm down.
Wura starts of with piano and Muyiwà’s voice (with some backing singers) its beautiful and its delicate but at the same time its real and raw.
My favourite line in this song is “be carfeul of roaring lions looking to devour you” it reminds me of a dad, brother or secret admirers words to a girl they care about, which makes because the title “Wura” means gold (I don’t speak Yoruba so I had to call upon a friend to translate).
This song has a slow and hypnotic sound till the drums kick in, which to me symbolises that start of the relationship where all is beautiful and rosy till all hell breaks loose. The first line that really hits me is “he who finds a wife finds a good thing but that’s not the case; gave you my heart but you took my love for granted.” It really made me get into my feelings; I really shared in the pain, and remembered when I too was a lover scorned.
As Told By Loved Ones
I really loved the way this ended the EP, such a lovely touch having the voices of his many fans and loved ones from far and wide wishing him well and speaking about how proud they were, my only wish is that I too could have recorded mine and added it for others to hear.
The ‘Dear Music” EP made me feel as if I had known Muyiwà for years, like a best friend, a brother, a father, a teacher and so much more. He has so much talent; there is so much beauty in his art, and I look forward to seeing him grow from strength to strength. The ‘Dear Music” EP is available on soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/officialmuyiwa/sets/dear-music-ep) and you can follow him on twitter @MuyiwaAkhigbe.